The king has apparently abdicated... long live his successor. The shambolic RFU has belatedly decided, following the shambles that passed as England's tilt at the World Cup, that those who choose to play beyond the White Cliffs of Dover will no longer be eligible to wear the white jersey. Had they done so earlier they would have spared Jonny Wilkinson a global showpiece too far.
Yesterday Wilkinson made a contribution to Toulon's 38-0 victory over Perpignan – no doubt cheered to the rafters by the euphoric French supporters – with two conversions.
As Red Rose remnants reappeared, Dylan Hartley and Courtney Lawes came off the bench in the LV Cup as Northampton beat a weakened Saracens 36-6. Halos off to the Saints scout who attracted Vasily Artemyev to Franklin's Gardens. The wing, who played for Russia in the World Cup, scored three tries on his debut, his first with his first touch of the ball. Who knows, he might become as revered in the Midlands as Benski Cohen. Ryan Lamb, once considered to be worthy of the England No 10 jersey, kicked a drop goal and three conversions.
Gloucester, the defending champions of this Anglo-Welsh tournament, overran Sale 58-27 at Kingsholm. It was 27-27 after 55 minutes but then Sale had three men sent to the sin bin and Gloucester ran in seven tries.
Bath also produced seven tries in a record 46-16 win over Newport-Gwent Dragons at Rodney Parade – one was scored by Matt Banahan. But Bath had an anxious journey home, waiting for news of scrum-half Mark McMillan who went to hospital with a neck injury.
Harlequins, top of the Premiership with six from six and with one eye on the Heineken Cup, rested 11 frontliners for the visit of London Irish, including the former All Black Nick Evans. But Quins can't stop winning and England sevens flier Ollie Lindsay-Hague touched down in the fourth minute of extra time to complete a 26-19 victory.
As for Worcester, their try hero in a 20-19 win over Wasps was Tom Arscott who scored with a brilliant effort from deep inside his own half.Reuse content